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The ride of his life

Pilliga teenager Caleb Mitchell has returned home after being the youngest rider on this year's Tour Da Country between Walgett and Menindie

HAPPY FAMILY: After returning from the Tour Da Country, Caleb Mitchell, left was met by many of his family including father Steven Doolan, sister Lateisha Doolan, youngest brother Jai Doolan (front), oldest brother Trey Doolan (back), brother Jordan Doolan, mother Linda Doolan and family friend and supporter on the Tour Gary Wooldridge. Photos from the trip are hanging in the background.

Caleb Mitchell is a quietly-spoken 14-year-old.

Ask the Pilliga teenager what it feels like after returning from an epic eight-day bike ride spanning 880km

between Walgett and Menindie and he answers “good”.

“It was a good experience,” he said.

“Nothing like I thought it might be.”

Caleb, the son of Steven and Linda Doolan and a Year 8 student at Wee Waa High School, was one of about 20 riders on the fifth annual Tour Da Country bike ride, which aims to raise awareness of healthy lifestyle choices in Aboriginal communities and to promote reconciliation among Australians.

This year’s ride was appropriately named the ‘Red Dust Tour’ and took in towns such as Brewarrina, Bourke, Cobar and Wilcannia along the way.

A highlight for Caleb, the youngest rider on the tour, was meeting his uncle Harley Toomey in Cobar.

And there was a large welcoming party when Caleb rode back in to Pilliga on Saturday, October 21.

But how Caleb came to be on the tour is interesting in itself.

His mother Linda Doolan takes up the story, which began about a year previously.